Before, people gathered in public spaces to watch sporting events and live music shows. Before, we shopped in malls, gathered in groups out in public, like it was No Big Deal. Before, Luce Cannon was a young musician on the verge of making it big, on tour with her band and promoting her big song, “Blood and Diamonds”. But mass shootings, terror attacks, and deadly viruses unleashed in public spaces have led to life in the After, where public gatherings are illegal and people live in their homes, getting everything they need droned in from the big Superwally box superstores. Rosemary is a twenty-something who barely remembers Before; she remembers her time in the hospital, recovering from the pox, and she remembers “Blood and Diamonds” helping give her the determination to heal. Now, Rosemary spends her days in Hoodspace – interactive hoodies that connect wearers to a virtual world – as a customer service representative for Superwally, until the chance to view a concert through provider StageHoloLive introduces her to a new career as a talent scout. Working for StageHoloLive, she gets the chance to travel the country in search of those little places where people still find ways to gather, listen to live music, and celebrate human connection, but if something is too good to be true, it probably is.
Told in two stories: in the first person, by Luce Cannon and in the third person, from Rosemary’s point of view, A Song for a New Day is about the human spirit and revolution through positive change. Luce’s story begins in the Before, and leads us through the series of attacks that bring us to life After. Rosemary’s story picks up in the aftermath and stands as a contrast between the desire to be safe and the desire to live authentically. There is strong world-building and character development, with LGBTQ+ characters and a character-building plot point about an inclusive religious community.
While not written for YA readers, this would absolutely work for high school readers who enjoy sci-fi and dystopian fic. Sarah Pinsker is a Nebula Award-winning author and a songwriter. You can find audio on her website.